Posted by Maisy Birdsall on April 24th, 2018
What is CHOGM?
CHOGM stands for Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings, which is a biennial summit of meetings for the governments from all 53 Commonwealth nations. This year is the first time since 1977, the year of the Queen’s Silver Jubilee, that the meetings have been held in London. Since then CHOGM has been held throughout the Commonwealth including Malta, Sri Lanka, Australia, Uganda, New Zealand and South Africa.
What was Glasgows role during CHOGM?
Glasgows were responsible for the attendee, delegation, media, and speaker accreditation; and registration for all meetings throughout the week long CHOGM events. The team also helped the Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO) on site deal with any new accreditations or queries about the events. Our team were also responsible for answering hundreds of attendee queries from across the Commonwealth, sending out thousands of emails, printing, folding, pouching and laminating over 16,000 badges, 10,000 overpasses; and creating, proofing, and printing thousands of delegate brochures too.
We were also responsible for the organisation of the Business Forum, People’s Forum, Womens Forum and Youth Forum. These Forums took place at various locations across London including the QEII Centre, Lancaster House and the Guildhall. The Forums started on Monday morning and ran through to Wednesday afternoon. Throughout the week there were many overnight builds, rigs, de-rigs, and room turnarounds that Team Glasgows were responsible for.
2018 was the first year that all four forums had come together for a joint Forum day. This day allowed for cross-learning and offering opportunities to agree on shared actions to be carried forward to the main CHOGM meetings. During the all Forums day, attendees were brought together for a session to share their thoughts on a ‘Common Future’ for the Commonwealth. This session included speakers such as The Rt Hon Theresa May MP, The Rt Hon Patricia Scotland QC, The Most Hon Andrew Holness and Bill Gates.
The events of CHOGM were all attended by royalty including HRH Queen Elizabeth opening the official CHOGM meetings, HRH Prince Charles attending the Commonwealth Big Lunch, HRH Prince William welcoming delegates during the ‘Welcome to London event’, HRH Prince Harry opening the Youth Forum, HRH the Duchess of Cornwall closing the Women’s Forum and various Prime Ministers, and Presidents of Commonwealth countries speaking during the Forums.
During the Forums Glasgows also coordinated the build, and installation, of all exhibition items throughout the three venues including: mannequins, pledge walls, knowledge trees, photo walls, partner pods, virtual reality stands, Facebook live, photo booths, points of light displays, resource corners, post boxes, charging tables, and Plasticus, the giant blue whale made out of plastic bottles that represents the amount of plastic that goes into the ocean every single second!
During CHOGM all of the locations had extremely high profile speakers and attendees therefore had exceptionally high amounts of security. Our accreditation team supplied all of the scanners, and the application that G4S were using to keep the buildings secure, scanning every person in and out of every building.
As a team we also dealt with the local council regarding road closures, security cordons, VVIP arrivals, security sweeps; and coordinated the locations of 1,200 police officers that were on the grounds during the events.
Our development team not only created the accreditation and registration systems that ALL attendees used. Alongside this they also created an application for the Forums which helped attendees to navigate their way around the venues, view agendas, choose workshops sessions, send questions to panels during sessions, read speakers biographies, and connect with other members of their Forums.
What Team Glasgows really thought of CHOGM?
I asked each department to make a collective decision and come up with one word to describe their experiences surrounding CHOGM, here’s what they came up with…
Projects Team- Hectic
Creative Team- Extensive but worthwhile
Development Team- Exciting
Management Team- Incredible
Production Team- Eventful
Overall it was a whirlwind of excitement for the whole team. It was an honour, and a privilege, for us to be involved with the events of CHOGM 2018.
Myself and Trainee Project Manager, Nicole, also thought it would be a good idea to hear from the Head of Production, Jon Barham about the events and here’s what he had to say…
“It was a challenging and exciting project to be a part of with the whole Glasgows family pulling together in times of need (especially when the Bat signal had to be sent up – the troops came running!). Our flexibility, adaptability and capability served us well in the ever changing needs of the project and we delivered to our usual high standards. Our northern grit, determination and sense of humour in times of adversity helped to get us through the dark times”